The composition department at Melbourne is a vibrant environment in which young composing musicians are equipped with the skills and insights necessary to develop their own creative voices.
We encourage composition in all styles, and offer guidance via a weekly seminar and regular group and individual lessons. Students have the opportunity to work through all phases of the composition process, from first ideas, through completion of a professionally-presented score, to interaction with performers in rehearsals culminating in public performance.
At the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, students:
- Acquire the skills of compositional technique, professional craft and technological fluency
- Gain an understanding of diverse musical traditions
- Develop the ability to collaborate with other artistic disciplines
- Engage with the wider community.
Bachelor of Music students can apply for entry as a major in composition at the end of their first year of the BMus, taking a guided program of specialised study over several years. Undergraduate students also undertake training in electro-acoustic sound manipulation, studio recording and editing.
- Listen to Time Machine, an example of electroacoustic composition projects undertaken by BMus students
Graduate study in composition is available at several levels. More information about courses, entry requirements and application procedures can be found in the University handbook:
Recent artistic partnerships include concerts, recordings and workshops with organisations such as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Australian National Academy of Music.
Visiting composers and performers
The Composition Division organizes regular concerts, workshops and seminars with visiting composers and performers. In recent years, the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music has featured composer residencies with Don Freund (Indiana), Jerome Kitzke (New York), John McCabe (UK), Richard Mills, Vincent Plush and Ros Bandt. Other guests have included notable identities such as Paul Grabowsky, Philip Glass, Peteris Vasks, David Chesworth, Graeme Koehne, Michael Kieran Harvey, Carl Vine and Marshall McGuire.
David Zavod, Peter Sculthorpe, Mary Finsterer, Matthew Hindson, Chris Dench, Robert Casteels, Colin Brumby, Helen Gifford, Brian Howard, Graham Hair, David Joseph, Liza Lim, Christine McCombe, Lawrence Whiffin, Kevin Purcell, Katy Abbott and Natalie Williams.
Our teaching staff has included eminent composers Brenton Broadstock, Stephen Ingham, Barry Conyngham, Peter Tahourdin and Keith Humble.
Note: Studying composition at the University of Melbourne
Composition at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music is a specialisation within the Melbourne Model BMus. Instruction is grounded within the Western notated art music tradition, while also engaging in dialogue with other contemporary musical practices. Students acquire skills in instrumental and vocal writing, orchestration, electro-acoustic music, professional score presentation, rehearsal skills and concert management, alongside the development of a personal and original voice.
Interactive Composition at the VCA is a major within the BFA (Contemporary Music), focussing on commercially driven cross-art modes of composition. Instruction covers writing music for events, film and TV, animation, theatre, music theatre, pop song, dance, advertising, video gaming, iPhone/iPad applications, web design, installation art and sound design. The course is stylistically inclusive and encourages initiative, entrepreneurship and creative skills in a contemporary music-making context.